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Eating & Drinking

  • Orvieto has always been farming country so visitors are spoilt for choice. Cultivating olive oil in Umbria dates back to Etruscan times, with produce around Orvieto, Assisi and Lake Trasimeno particularly prized for its intensity. Orvieto itself boasts gallina ubriaca (`drunken chicken’ drenched in wine) as a popular local dish. The city is also close enough to Norcia, the epicentre of Umbrian charcuterie, for cold cuts and salami to feature as tasty antipasti.  Hearty soups are also popular in the city, especially chestnut and chickpea soup.

    There is no escaping distinctive, meaty main courses. Locally-reared Umbrian meat is always on the menu, especially barbecued or roast meats, ranging from lamb to beef. As in Tuscany, Chianina cattle are a staple, with the meat prized for its succulent flavour. On the wilder side, expect wild boar, roast goose, pigeon, venison and wild boar. As in Tuscany, pork is often served as porchetta, spit-roasted and flavoured with garlic, wild fennel and local herbs. The Umbrians claim to have invented the dish, despite its popularity in Tuscany and Lazio. For dessert try the aniseed-flavoured ciambellone. a ring-shaped cake often considered an Italian version of a doughnut.

    As the volcanic soil is very rich in minerals, grape vines thrive here, as they have since Etruscan times. Orvieto lends its name to the renowned Orvieto Classico, a straw-coloured white wine currently undergoing a revival. Bizarrely, Pope Gregory XVI ordered that his body be washed in Orvieto before burial. Contemporary Orvieto is made from a blend including Trebbiano and Grechetto.

  • I Sette Consoli

    This elegant, pricey, fine-dining restaurant is set on a small square and has a discreet mood and a secret garden. Tuck into the turbot, venison or pigeon before moving onto the cheeseboard or, in the right season, taking the truffle menu. At the “Seven Consuls” both the service and the wine list are praiseworthy.

    Address: Piazza Sant’Angelo 1A, 05018 Orvieto

  • Il Malandrino Bistrot

    As one of the venues for Umbria Jazz, this mid-priced spot sometimes stages jazz sessions or other live music recitals inside but also has a summer terrace. The Bistrot claims to deliver soul food, if soul food means cherry tomatoes marinated in vodka, followed by pasta with truffles or a porcini mushroom sauce. Dishes are well-presented while service is friendly.

    Address: Via Giuseppe Garibaldi 20, 05018 Orvieto

  • Ristorante Le Grotte del Funaro

    Set in the so-called “Medieval Quarter” in the west of town, this atmospheric mid-priced inn occupies a charming vaulted grotto at one with the medieval mood. In fact, it started as an Etruscan cave before becoming a rope-maker’s workshop and finally an inn. On the menu is home-made pasta, grilled meat, game and pizza.

    Address: Via Ripa Serancia 41, 05018 Orvieto

  • Trattoria da Carlo

    Set just off the main drag, this welcoming, good-value trattoria specialises in straightforward, regional home-cooking. Typical dishes include spicy chicken and steak tartare.

    Address: Vicolo del Popolo 9, 05018 Orvieto

  • Trattoria La Pergola

    Set not far from the cathedral, this inviting, well-run, unpretentious trattoria serves traditional Umbrian cuisine. The classic antipasti dish is a plate of Umbrian cured meats while first courses might include pappardelle pasta with wild boar or gnocchi in a Chianina beef sauce or with truffles. Desserts include panna cotta or ricotta.

    Address: Via dei Magoni 9B, 05018 Orvieto

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